Imatges de pÓgina

ing only. Know him with your heart, give him your affections as well as your reason; for now that God is master of your judgment, it would be very absurd in you to let any thing else have your love. Such a division of yourself between things above, and things on the earth, would carry you to opposite ends; the one would rivet you to the earth, the other would exalt you to heaven. Since both cannot be done, is it not best to follow reason, and cleave to God? If you choose this upper path, break loose from the world, the deceitful world, and fly to God, the author of your being, and the source of all good. Learn to fear him in his power and justice; learn to admire him in his wisdom, his majesty, his immensity: learn to love him for his bounty, his goodness, his mercy; and then adore him with the united force of all these happy affections and sensations. As he is one, endeavour to worship and serve him with an undivided heart. Let your faith honour him, your works serve him, your tongue bless and praise him.

If you come thus affected and disposed before him, you will not come poor nor empty-handed. Your heart, fear not, will be a more acceptable sacrifice than thousands of rams, or ten thousands of rivers of oil. But take care that faith purge it, that repentance cut it in sunder, and that piety prepare and lay it on the altar. There let it burn in the flames of hallowed love; and God will receive it as a sweetsmelling savour, as an offering more precious than ten thousand worlds.

Before you are satisfied of God's unity, and other attributes, all your disputes and inquiries about him are in themselves speculative. But conviction hath no sooner put an end to these speculations, than you ought seriously to consider, for what purpose you made this most important point the subject of your examination. It was not merely an

effect of curiosity; it was not surely that you might talk better, and parade it with more appearance of knowledge, in this religious fundamental, than other men.' If vanity must be indulged, hath it not a lower field of shells, pebbles, and butterflies, to expatiate in? God, I must insist, is too sacred, too awful, a subject for curious speculations, and a conceited ostentation of knowledge. It was, it must have been, with nobler views, that you sought for satisfaction in

so weighty a matter. It was, no doubt, with an earnest desire to know who it is that gave you being, and all the comforts of that being, that you might love him, and by your services attach his love to you. This was a wise end, and well becoming the faculties God hath bestowed on you. But if you have at length attained to it, your wisdom can now no otherwise be justified, but by reducing this attainment to practice; that you may feel in your own heart the conscious pleasures arising from a life spent in the love and fear of God; and that all who know you may see your light ;' and being edified by it, 'may glorify your Father which is in heaven.'

May God of his infinite goodness, so enlighten your mind, and so work on your heart, as to produce this happy effect, through Christ Jesus our Saviour. Amen.



ST. JOHN v. 22, 23.

The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.

HAVING, in the former Discourse, proved, that there is but one God, I intend, with his assistance, to prove in this, and the following, that Jesus Christ is that only one God. In this, I shall endeavour to remove the most material objections to his divinity, wherewith its opposers arm themselves from holy Scripture, that, in the next, the proofs thereof drawn from thence, being freed from these obstructions, may come with their full force.

The Son, or Christ, as my text assures us, is to judge the whole moral world at the last day. Now, none but the all-knowing Being, who searcheth the heart,' is able to judge the actions, the words, the very thoughts, of all intel

ligent creatures. None but he, whose judgments are true and righteous altogether, whose righteousness is like the great mountains, and whose judgments are a great deep,' is qualified to perform this work of justice, on which depend so necessarily the virtue and goodness both of angels and men. None but the Almighty hath power sufficient to decide the fate, and fix the eternal rewards or punishments, of all God's accountable creatures. None, therefore, but the Divine Being, is fit to execute this high commission. 'Doubtless there is a God that judgeth the earth;' for no other is able to do it.

Let it not offend the ears of one who believes in the unity of God, that he should receive a commission; since we acknowledge, that he, to whom this trust is committed, receives the authority, whereby he acts as our judge, from the appointment of the Father, as he does also his essence from the eternal generation; the Father being the fountain of the Godhead, and therefore of the divine authority; and since we likewise acknowledge, that the judge is man as well as God. Whatsoever reference this commission may have to his previous nature, it is declaratively founded on that which he assumed in the womb of the blessed virgin; for, at ver. 17, he expressly assigns this as the reason of that commission, asserting, that the Father hath given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man.' By thus affixing the idea of his delegation to his human nature, he seems to have pointed out this passage as a key to all other expressions of the like import. He is sent, he is commissioned, he is commanded, to do, not his own will, but the will of his Father, because he is a Son; peculiarly, indeed, because he is the Son of man.

As he is commissioned to judge, so, in the same manner, was he commissioned to preach, and work miracles. He, being man, had a distinct will of his own; it was, however, not that will, but the will of his Father, which he was appointed to execute in all he did: neither was it his human wisdom, by which he taught the world; nor his human power by which he wrought his works; but the divine wisdom and power communicated to him by his Father along with his essence. Therefore, he saith, 'I (as a man) can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because

[ocr errors]

I seek not my own will, but the will of my Father which hath sent me;' John v. 30. The Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doth ;' ver. 20. 'I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak;' chap. xii. 49. The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doth the works;' chap. xiv. 10. In all this, it is evident he speaks as the Son of man; for the Father, he tells us, 'gave him authority to execute judgment because he is the Son of man.' As such, he proves his mission by miracles as such, he gives us a law, and a covenant: and, as such, he will judge us at the last day by that law and coveAll these privileges and powers accrue to him as the Son of man; because by his blood, as such, he bought us; and acquired a right to rule over us, and judge us; to the execution, however, of which high office, the divine wisdom and power are absolutely necessary.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

But you ought to observe for what end and purpose the Father hath thus committed all judgment to the Son. You it is, that all men may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father;' and you heard, in the former Discourse, the express declaration of God by Isaiah, that he would not give his glory, or honour to another,' that is, to any but himself. As sure, therefore, as the word of God is true, so surely is Christ that God, and no other; for the honour here appointed to be given is, both in degree and kind, that very honour which is due to the Father, which is due to God alone, and which God will neither give himself, nor suffer to be given by us, to any but God. And good reason there is why we should be ordered to do this, since all the angels of God are commanded to worship Christ;' Heb. i. 6; and since, in the presence of his Father, the whole host of heaven, together with every other creature,' ascribe this glory to him, as to the Father,' saying, with a loud voice, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever;' Rev. v. 11-13.

Now, though this power and glory are given to Christ the Son of man, as a purchase made by his precious blood; yet, since the power and glory are divine, they could not have have been given unto him, were he not truly and properly a

[ocr errors]

divine person; because they cannot be given to another;' and because the Scripture every where restrains them to God alone.

[ocr errors]

Accordingly, our blessed Saviour speaks of himself as possessed of that glory, not only before he became man, but before the creation of the world. Now, O Father, glorify me, with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was;' John xvii. 5. To this glory Christ, as God, was entitled from all eternity; but did not acquire a right to it as man, till he had paid the purchase by his blood.

If, in holy Scripture, there are other expressions that intimate some inferiority in the Son, it is not to be wondered at; since it is plain this must be accounted for, as it very easily and rationally may, by the human nature of the Son, whereof I have given a sample sufficient to guide us in all such cases; and by the economy or distribution of offices, whereby the three Divine Persons are distinguished, in the word of God, as concurring respectively to the scheme of our redemption. There are several passages of Scripture, indeed, that seem to intimate the obedience and subjection of the Son to the Father, as prior to the assumption of the human nature. But these may also be naturally interpreted with an eye to that assumption; or, allowing they may not, they are proper to the relation between father and son; and may be so understood, without the least necessity for supposing an inequality of nature between the Divine Father and Son, any more than between a human father and his son, where we know there is none. In the Divine nature, which is one, and simple, there can be no degrees. Now the equality, or rather identity, of Christ with the Father, and his subjection to him, are both revealed to us in holy Scripture; and therefore it lies on those professors of Christianity who deny, as much as on us who maintain, the true and proper divinity of Christ, to reconcile this seeming opposition. The former attempt it by sinking the sense of such passages as speak for his divinity, to the standard of such as intimate a lower character of him. We, on the contrary, do not endeavour to raise the sense of those Scriptures which convey the lowest notions of him, in order to bring them up to the level of those that speak highest; but interpret them, either

« AnteriorContinua »